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Speech Jadranka Vojinovic, SIGMA, Paris, 4 December 2015

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Speech by Jadranka Vojinovic, State Secretary, Ministry of Interior of Montenegro, made at the regional conference on Public Administration Reform Challenges in Western Balkan Countries held at the OECD in Paris, 4 December 2015.

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Speech Jadranka Vojinovic, SIGMA, Paris, 4 December 2015

  1. 1. 2 Rue André Pascal 75775 Paris Cedex 16 France mailto:sigmaweb@oecd.org Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 24 82 00 Fax: +33 (0) 1 45 24 13 05 www.sigmaweb.org This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. It should not be reported as representing the official views of the EU, the OECD or its member countries, or of beneficiaries participating in the SIGMA Programme. The opinions expressed and arguments employed are those of the author(s). This document and any map included herein are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. Speech by Jadranka Vojinović State Secretary, Ministry of Interior of Montenegro « Increasing Accountability through Better Public Information » Regional ministerial conference on public administration reform challenges in Western Balkan countries Paris, France 4 December 2015
  2. 2. 2 Dear Ministers, Honourable organizers, Ladies and gentlemen, I am particularly pleased to have the opportunity to extend warm greetings to you on behalf of the Government of Montenegro and the Ministry of Interior and to thank you for the occasion to talk in this format about the results and challenges in the public administration reform, being one of the three pillars in the enlargement process. After last year’s meeting in Brussels, we consider today’s event an additional step forward towards the alignment of all the activities in this area, in order for the Western Balkan countries to get prepared to the highest possible degree to embark upon the processes which the dynamics of the implementation of their European agenda largely depends on. We particularly appreciate the fact that France, the OECD host country, found enough strength following the recent tragic events and demonstrated determination to continue promoting the values which modern Europe has been based upon. In that sense, we extend our most cordial congratulations and gratitude well aware that solely solidarity and mutual support can be the basis for future successes. The efforts invested by Montenegro in recent years have resulted in specific achievements. I therefore have this opportunity to inform you with particular pleasure that our country, only two days ago, was invited to the membership of the North Atlantic Alliance, thus valorising the efforts invested continuously on the creation of better and more efficient society, based on the rule of law and oriented towards citizens and their everyday needs. Allow me to briefly inform you on the progress achieved so far in the area of public administration reform, where – guided by the desire to aligning our legislation with the European Acquis – we have created excellent cooperation dynamics with the European Commission and the SIGMA. To this end the Government of Montenegro has got a clear vision of providing the necessary administrative capacities in the continued process of European and Euro-Atlantic integrations, as well as to adjust and direct the Public Administration Reform Strategy until 2020 towards the fulfilment of common objectives. The structure of the new strategic document follows the logic of the reform areas as structured in the SIGMA paper “Public Administration Principles”, which will facilitate the monitoring of the condition and progress in all key reform areas. Ladies and gentlemen, In the context of the discourse on the enhanced system of accountability, it is necessary to emphasize that in Montenegro, as the country the public administration of which is composed of ministries, state authorities and local administration bodies, but also of the organizations exercising public powers (so called public agencies/funds), the diversity of their legal status and models of functioning constitute a special challenge. Guided by the principle that the right to access the information in the possession of state bodies and organizations exercising public powers, as a right guaranteed by the Constitution and one of the most important accountability mechanisms in the relation between the administration and the citizens, both in the Government and the Ministry of Interior we have made a series of steps towards the improvement of transparency and bringing the services closer to our citizens. The »Open Government Partnerships« programme, special applications and mechanisms for the access and dissemination of information through Internet and social networks, as well as a quick and efficient procedure of submitting the responses to the questions coming from the citizens and the civil sector, are just but few models we have been implementing. In that sense, the existing legislative framework offers ample possibilities for a free access to information and constitutes a good “tool” for the exercising of this right, while in the cooperation with our key
  3. 3. 3 partners we work continuously on the improvement of the existing laws, which already provide for the proactive access to information that every authority is obliged to publish on its website. In addition to that, all the materials and conclusions of the Government of Montenegro are public, while the laws and bylaws, as well as individual administrative decisions are easily accessible to all interested entities in several ways. Particularly appreciated is accuracy and transparency in publishing the documents discussed by the Government on its website, at which the interested actors are presented in real time all questions and conclusions being considered. In the forthcoming period, we will be working on the strengthening of all the necessary capacities of the Personal Data Protection Agency and free access to information with the purpose of its adequate response to all the challenges in the segment of the accessibility of data and information, including the problem of administrative silence. In addition, we consider that with the introduction of the new “One-Stop-Shop” concept we will additionally reduce administrative barriers and simplify the procedure of providing services to citizens and businesses, through direct contact with the bodies of state and local administration. In that sense, it is necessary to emphasize that the Administrative and Supreme Courts take care of the protection of rights and exercise direct control over the work of the administration and that the new Law on Administrative Procedure and the future Law on Administrative Dispute, drafted in cooperation with the experts from SIGMA and the European Commission, with the involvement of the renowned experts from the country and the region, constitute high quality basis for the increase of efficiency in the exercise of citizens’ rights. It is important to mention the activities of the Ombudsman’s Office as an oversight mechanism over the work of public administration which citizens can approach when they consider that their rights and freedoms are violated. The most recent amendments to the Law on Ombudsman of Montenegro provided for the possibility of broad consultations between the President of Montenegro and experts and NGO sector on the occasion of proposing the candidates for the position of the Ombudsman. Although the overall number of Ombudsman’s recommendations is low, the degree of their enforcement is exceptionally high, which contributes to securing the citizens’ right to good administration. Recognizing the challenges we are facing in the enlargement process, which requires the implementation of fundamental reforms in very often limited financial circumstances, will direct future reform processes in Montenegro, in order for its public administration to ensure transparent and effective democratic governance. To this end, the work of the Special Task Force for the reform of public administration, established between the European Commission and Montenegro, which considers and monitors the progress achieved in the reform of this area, directs in a targeted way and influences the dynamics and the direction of the entire reform process. Namely, this mechanism enables the exchange of information among key institutions and provides mutual synergy which contributes significantly to the quality of reform activities. I would like to underline the fact that the Government of Montenegro recognizes the important role of the NGO sector in the exercising of public tasks, through various forms of cooperation between state administration and nongovernmental organizations. In that sense, current legislation has improved the normative framework for the cooperation with NGO sector through three modalities: information, consultation and participation of NGO representatives in the working bodies formed by state administration bodies. In the coming period we will be working on further improvement of legal, institutional and financial assumptions for free activities of NGOs, as well as on further cooperation among NGOs, Government, line ministries and other bodies at the central and local level, in order to contribute jointly, on the basis of respective complementary roles and responsibilities, to further development of open, prosperous and democratic society of equal opportunities. On that note, I salute you most cordially and I thank you for your attention.

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